Integration is a Good Thing

March 28, 2024

I’ve been thinking a lot about the DOJ suit against Apple this week. It’s still the talk of the community, for good reason.

Kontra (aka @counternotions) on Twitter sums up my current thoughts very well:

DOJ’s antitrust suit against Apple may read infuriatingly ignorant, inaccurate and ahistorical, but, above all, it’s an ideological frontal attack on the notion of integrated product/platform design…a death march to commodification and interchangeability. The rest is much noise.

A ton of the suit seems to focus on the negatives of Apple being a deeply integrated product company. Integrations between hardware and software. Integrations between its services. Integrations between devices (such as your phone and watch).

I reject the notion that this is a bad thing! The entire reason many of us strongly prefer Apple products is because of these integrations.

Yes, Apple sometimes does use these integrations in a way that prevents competition, especially related to the App Store. But the focus in the suit isn’t on those policies. Instead, the suit focuses on non-issues like third-party watch integrations.

I continue to believe that this suit is misguided and a waste of the government’s time. What’s the end game here? To enable third-party watches that have better notifications? Is that something the general tax-paying public is interested in? I think not.

I will continue to preach that there are plenty of issues with Apple’s dominance in the smartphone market and app economy. But this suit has yet to show me how it will fix any of that. Instead the DOJ is just wasting resources and taking time away from more important issues to litigate something that, I would guess, most of Apple’s customers think is a good thing.